The PH Foundation

The PH Foundation aids people in the Philippines. It was founded in 1986 by the German physicists and Catholic priests Bernhard Philberth and Karl Philberth.

Since the death of Fr. Bernhard Philberth († 2010), it rests on the shoulders of Prof. Dr. Karl Philberth, with the active support of Dr. Walter Uhlenbruch AO, KLJ, assisted by Mr. Justin Bergman, both residents of Australia.

The PH Foundation enables young children from marginalised families to obtain a qualified education. At the same time, this assists their families and the nation, because there is a lack of well qualified people. Most scholars find employment in jobs where there is a shortage of qualified workers; quite a few decided to become priests or religious.

From the beginning, the concept of the foundation has been conceivably simple: it is financed by the Philberth brothers and managed by the Philippine branch of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing. The allocation of scholarships lies in the hands of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Manila, who operate 18 subsidiaries throughout the country. To ensure that the foundation does not pay a single Peso towards its administration cost, Karl Philberth pays for this privately. The Sisters ensure the selection of needy scholars and continuously monitor their progress and success. Each scholar has a sponsoring Sister who personally looks after him or her. This means that the foundation is not an anonymous charity but rather a large family.

The Philberth brothers, and their mother, have provided the lion’s share of the funds for the foundation. Generous donors have also made substantial contributions. These donors may be interested in knowing how the foundation has fared to date. In brief, the annual number of scholars has grown during the eight school years from 2004/5 to 2011/12 as follows:

Development of the number of Philberth scholars

Ever since 2011/12, there have been 500 scholars annually who receive funding. Fr. Bernhard Philberth, with the expert advice from the Australian Steyler Missionaries (SVD), invested the funds of the foundation in Australian Reserve Bank Bonds with guaranteed interest returns. As a result, twice each year 3.2 million Philippine Pesos (PhP) can be transferred to the foundation in Manila. Just one year ago, it seemed that it was reasonable to assume that the annual financing of 500 scholars would be ensured for many years to come. Unfortunately, this is no longer so.

For many years, even as late as around April 2014, one Australian Dollar was worth more than 40 PhP; today this has decreased to about 33 PhP. Unfortunately, it appears that this will remain the case for quite some time. Therefore, it is of concern that the financial basis of the PH Foundation, which is largely invested in Australia, will shrink rapidly. This would be most regrettable because the Philippines are still a developing nation where much help can be provided with relatively little funding. My late brother Bernhard and I have confidently placed the PH Foundation in the hands of our Lord. May He continue to look after it as well as He has done so far.

Bank account of the PH Foundation in Australia
Name Benedictine Sisters-Philberth Fund
Bank Commonwealth Bank of Australia (BSB 062-784)
Address 48 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Account no. 14222001
Bank account of the PH Foundation in the Philippines
Name The Prioress of the Community of Benedictine Sisters, Inc.
Address 2560 Leon Guinto Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines
Bank Bank of the Philippine Islands (BIC: BOPIPHMM)
Account no. 2771001486

Sisters and Philberth scholars in Manila, with Walter Uhlenbruch as guest (centre)
(All students are Philberth scholars, only those from certain parts of the country wear T-shirts with “I am a Philberth scholar”)

Authors: Prof. Dr. Karl Philberth, Dr. Walter Uhlenbruch (as at January 2016)